Patents by Inventor Paul S. Banks

Paul S. Banks has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 11375174
    Abstract: A system and method for reducing background light in an image are disclosed. The system includes a sensor and a processor. An illuminator may illuminate a scene with emitted light. The sensor outputs one or more images in response to received light. The processor processes images from the sensor to reduce or eliminate ambient light in a captured image. The processor may do this by causing the sensor to capture a first image of the scene, where the first image includes background light and portions of the emitted light reflected or scattered from the scene. The processor also causes the sensor to capture a second image of the scene, where the second image includes background light with no contribution from the emitted light. The processor subtracts the second image from the first image to produce a third image of the scene predominately illuminated by the emitted light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2022
    Assignee: nLIGHT, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, Lorenzo N. Venneri
  • Publication number: 20220141446
    Abstract: Systems and methods for reducing the deleterious effects of specular reflections (e.g., glint) on active illumination systems are disclosed. An example system includes an illuminator or light source configured to illuminate a scene with electromagnetic radiation having a defined polarization orientation. The system also includes a receiver for receiving portions of the electromagnetic radiation reflected or scatter from the scene. Included in the receiver is a polarizer having a polarization axis crossed with the polarization orientation of the emitted electromagnetic radiation. By crossing the polarizer with the polarization of the emitted electromagnetic radiation, the polarizer may filter out glint or specular reflections in the electromagnetic radiation returned from the scene.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 13, 2022
    Publication date: May 5, 2022
    Applicant: nLIGHT, Inc.
    Inventors: Bodo Schmidt, Paul S. Banks, Charles Stewart Tuvey
  • Publication number: 20220050205
    Abstract: Apparatuses, systems and methods for modulating returned light for acquisition of 3D data from a scene are described. A 3D imaging system includes a Fabry-Perot cavity having a first partially-reflective surface for receiving incident light and a second partially-reflective surface from which light exits. An electro-optic material is located within the Fabry-Perot cavity between the first and second partially-reflective surfaces. Transparent longitudinal electrodes or transverse electrodes produce an electric field within the electro-optic material. A voltage driver is configured to modulate, as a function of time, the electric field within the electro-optic material so that the incident light passing through the electro-optic material is modulated according to a modulation waveform. A light sensor receives modulated light that exits the second partially-reflective surface of the Fabry-Perot cavity and converts the light into electronic signals.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 11, 2019
    Publication date: February 17, 2022
    Applicant: nLIGHT, Inc.
    Inventors: Christopher Allen Ebbers, Paul S. Banks, Charles S. Tuvey
  • Patent number: 11209664
    Abstract: A 3D imaging system includes an optical modulator for modulating a returned portion of a light pulse as a function of time. The returned light pulse portion is reflected or scattered from a scene for which a 3D image or video is desired. The 3D imaging system also includes an element array receiving the modulated light pulse portion and a sensor array of pixels, corresponding to the element array. The pixel array is positioned to receive light output from the element array. The element array may include an array of polarizing elements, each corresponding to one or more pixels. The polarization states of the polarizing elements can be configured so that time-of-flight information of the returned light pulse can be measured from signals produced by the pixel array, in response to the returned modulated portion of the light pulse.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 28, 2021
    Assignee: NLIGHT, INC.
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, C. Stewart Tuvey, Lorenzo N. Venneri
  • Publication number: 20210281818
    Abstract: Systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging are disclosed. A three-dimensional imaging system may include a light source to emit a light pulse. The divergence of the light pulse may be configurable by the system. For example, the system may also include a receiving lens having a field of view and configured to receive a portion of the light pulse reflected or scattered by a scene. The system may configure the light source so that the divergence of the light pulse matches or approximates the field of view of the receiving lens.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 22, 2020
    Publication date: September 9, 2021
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Patent number: 10897610
    Abstract: Systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging are disclosed. The systems and methods may capture image data with wide field of view and precision timing. In an exemplary system, a three-dimensional imaging system may include an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse for irradiating a scene. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and m may include a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions. One or more light sensor arrays may be included in the system for generating scene data corresponding to the received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem may be configured to obtain a three-dimensional image data based on the scene data from the light sensor arrays.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2019
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2021
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Publication number: 20200059638
    Abstract: Systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging are disclosed. The systems and methods may capture image data with wide field of view and precision timing. In an exemplary system, a three-dimensional imaging system may include an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse for irradiating a scene. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and m may include a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions. One or more light sensor arrays may be included in the system for generating scene data corresponding to the received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem may be configured to obtain a three-dimensional image data based on the scene data from the light sensor arrays.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 26, 2019
    Publication date: February 20, 2020
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Patent number: 10437082
    Abstract: An electro-optic modulator (EOM) includes a first electro-optic (EO) material configured to receive light. The first EO material has an optic axis that is not parallel to the optical axis of the EOM. The optic axis indicates the direction through the first EO material along which a ray of light passing through the first EO material experiences no birefringence. The EOM also includes a polarization rotator that receives light output from the first EO material. The rotated light passes through a second EO material. The second EO material is positioned in the EOM such that its optic axis is not parallel to the optical axis of the EOM. The second EO material compensates for the birefringence and/or higher-order optical effects of the first material, thus reducing optical transmission errors of the EOM. The EOM may provide a wider field of view for imaging systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: TetraVue, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, Charles Stewart Tuvey, Christopher Allen Ebbers
  • Publication number: 20190204628
    Abstract: An electro-optic modulator (EOM) includes a first electro-optic (EO) material configured to receive light. The first EO material has an optic axis that is not parallel to the optical axis of the EOM. The optic axis indicates the direction through the first EO material along which a ray of light passing through the first EO material experiences no birefringence. The EOM also includes a polarization rotator that receives light output from the first EO material. The rotated light passes through a second EO material. The second EO material is positioned in the EOM such that its optic axis is not parallel to the optical axis of the EOM. The second EO material compensates for the birefringence and/or higher-order optical effects of the first material, thus reducing optical transmission errors of the EOM. The EOM may provide a wider field of view for imaging systems.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 28, 2017
    Publication date: July 4, 2019
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, Charles Stewart Tuvey, Christopher Allen Ebbers
  • Publication number: 20190166355
    Abstract: A system and method for reducing background light in an image are disclosed. The system includes a sensor and a processor. An illuminator may illuminate a scene with emitted light. The sensor outputs one or more images in response to received light. The processor processes images from the sensor to reduce or eliminate ambient light in a captured image. The processor may do this by causing the sensor to capture a first image of the scene, where the first image includes background light and portions of the emitted light reflected or scattered from the scene. The processor also causes the sensor to capture a second image of the scene, where the second image includes background light with no contribution from the emitted light. The processor subtracts the second image from the first image to produce a third image of the scene predominately illuminated by the emitted light.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 27, 2017
    Publication date: May 30, 2019
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, Lorenzo N. Venneri
  • Publication number: 20190116355
    Abstract: Systems and methods for reducing the deleterious effects of specular reflections (e.g., glint) on active illumination systems are disclosed. An example system includes an illuminator or light source configured to illuminate a scene with electromagnetic radiation having a defined polarization orientation. The system also includes a receiver for receiving portions of the electromagnetic radiation reflected or scatter from the scene. Included in the receiver is a polarizer having a polarization axis crossed with the polarization orientation of the emitted electromagnetic radiation. By crossing the polarizer with the polarization of the emitted electromagnetic radiation, the polarizer may filter out glint or specular reflections in the electromagnetic radiation returned from the scene.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 16, 2018
    Publication date: April 18, 2019
    Inventors: Bodo Schmidt, Paul S. Banks, Charles Stewart Tuvey
  • Patent number: 10218962
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging with wide field of view and precision timing. In accordance with one aspect, a three-dimensional imaging system includes an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse with a divergence sufficient to irradiate a scene having a wide field of view. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive over a wide field of view portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and including: a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions; and means for generating a first image corresponding to the received light pulse portions and a second image corresponding to the modulated received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem is configured to obtain a three-dimensional image based on the first and second images.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: TETRAVUE, INC.
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Patent number: 10104365
    Abstract: The methods and systems disclosed herein improve upon previous 3D imaging techniques by making use of a longer illumination pulse to obtain the same or nearly the same range resolution as can be achieved by using a much shorter, conventional laser pulse. For example, a longer illumination pulse can be produced by one or more Q-switched lasers that produce, for example, 5, 10, 20 ns or longer pulses. In some instances, the laser pulse can be longer than the modulation waveform of a MIS-type imaging system and still produce a repeatable response function. The light pulse generation technologies required to achieve longer pulse lengths can be significantly less expensive and less complex than known technologies presently used to generate shorter illumination pulse lengths. Lower-cost, lower-complexity light pulse sources may facilitate lower-cost, commercial 3D camera products.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, C. Stewart Tuvey
  • Publication number: 20180220123
    Abstract: The methods and systems disclosed herein improve upon previous 3D imaging techniques by making use of a longer illumination pulse to obtain the same or nearly the same range resolution as can be achieved by using a much shorter, conventional laser pulse. For example, a longer illumination pulse can be produced by one or more Q-switched lasers that produce, for example, 5, 10, 20 ns or longer pulses. In some instances, the laser pulse can be longer than the modulation waveform of a MIS-type imaging system and still produce a repeatable response function. The light pulse generation technologies required to achieve longer pulse lengths can be significantly less expensive and less complex than known technologies presently used to generate shorter illumination pulse lengths. Lower-cost, lower-complexity light pulse sources may facilitate lower-cost, commercial 3D camera products.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 24, 2018
    Publication date: August 2, 2018
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, Charles Stewart Tuvey
  • Publication number: 20170248796
    Abstract: A 3D imaging system includes an optical modulator for modulating a returned portion of a light pulse as a function of time. The returned light pulse portion is reflected or scattered from a scene for which a 3D image or video is desired. The 3D imaging system also includes an element array receiving the modulated light pulse portion and a sensor array of pixels, corresponding to the element array. The pixel array is positioned to receive light output from the element array. The element array may include an array of polarizing elements, each corresponding to one or more pixels. The polarization states of the polarizing elements can be configured so that time-of-flight information of the returned light pulse can be measured from signals produced by the pixel array, in response to the returned modulated portion of the light pulse.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2017
    Publication date: August 31, 2017
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, C. Stewart Tuvey, Lorenzo N. Venneri
  • Publication number: 20150312554
    Abstract: The methods and systems disclosed herein improve upon previous 3D imaging techniques by making use of a longer illumination pulse to obtain the same or nearly the same range resolution as can be achieved by using a much shorter, conventional laser pulse. For example, a longer illumination pulse can be produced by one or more Q-switched lasers that produce, for example, 5, 10, 20 ns or longer pulses. In some instances, the laser pulse can be longer than the modulation waveform of a MIS-type imaging system and still produce a repeatable response function. The light pulse generation technologies required to achieve longer pulse lengths can be significantly less expensive and less complex than known technologies presently used to generate shorter illumination pulse lengths. Lower-cost, lower-complexity light pulse sources may facilitate lower-cost, commercial 3D camera products.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 27, 2015
    Publication date: October 29, 2015
    Inventors: Paul S. Banks, Bodo Schmidt, C. Stewart Turvey
  • Publication number: 20150296201
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging with wide field of view and precision timing. In accordance with one aspect, a three-dimensional imaging system includes an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse with a divergence sufficient to irradiate a scene having a wide field of view. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive over a wide field of view portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and including: a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions; and means for generating a first image corresponding to the received light pulse portions and a second image corresponding to the modulated received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem is configured to obtain a three-dimensional image based on the first and second images.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 13, 2015
    Publication date: October 15, 2015
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Patent number: 9007439
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging with wide field of view and precision timing. In accordance with one aspect, a three-dimensional imaging system includes an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse with a divergence sufficient to irradiate a scene having a wide field of view. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive over a wide field of view portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and including: a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions; and means for generating a first image corresponding to the received light pulse portions and a second image corresponding to the modulated received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem is configured to obtain a three-dimensional image based on the first and second images.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2015
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Publication number: 20130278713
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging with wide field of view and precision timing. In accordance with one aspect, a three-dimensional imaging system includes an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse with a divergence sufficient to irradiate a scene having a wide field of view. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive over a wide field of view portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and including: a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions; and means for generating a first image corresponding to the received light pulse portions and a second image corresponding to the modulated received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem is configured to obtain a three-dimensional image based on the first and second images.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 24, 2013
    Publication date: October 24, 2013
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks
  • Patent number: 8471895
    Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide systems and methods for three-dimensional imaging with wide field of view and precision timing. In accordance with one aspect, a three-dimensional imaging system includes an illumination subsystem configured to emit a light pulse with a divergence sufficient to irradiate a scene having a wide field of view. A sensor subsystem is configured to receive over a wide field of view portions of the light pulse reflected or scattered by the scene and including: a modulator configured to modulate as a function of time an intensity of the received light pulse portion to form modulated received light pulse portions; and means for generating a first image corresponding to the received light pulse portions and a second image corresponding to the modulated received light pulse portions. A processor subsystem is configured to obtain a three-dimensional image based on the first and second images.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 25, 2013
    Inventor: Paul S. Banks